A colorful new mural greets travelers on Buffalo Pass. The idea for the mural began with the Southern Oaks Neighborhood Association and was completed in partnership with the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Partnering Program (NPP). The mosaic covers a 140-foot retaining wall and utilizes two tons of clay and 600 pounds of glass.
The mural brought together more than 200 volunteers, who worked over 2,500 hours to complete the project. The lead artist, Ryah Christensen, collaborated with the neighborhood to design and construct the large mosaic. First, she provided a general outline of the mural, which was placed in a common area. Community members were then invited to add their own designs to the outline. Often, these drawings represented their favorite things about the neighborhood. Next, they transferred the drawing to clay tiles, which were painted and glazed. Finally, the tiles were fired and placed in the public right of way. The artwork is a result of 32 community volunteer sessions. View photos of the mural installation in progress here.
"What started out as a community mural project has transformed not only a wall but the neighborhood, too!” said neighbors Elisabeth Healey and Jen Maufrais Kelly, who acted as the mural project leads. “We didn't just create a mural, we built friendships and connections during our sessions which have strengthened our community. When we look at the mural, we don't just see a mosaic. We see all the captured stories behind each piece, the memorialization of neighbors who are no longer here, and all of the conversations shared."
The Buffalo Pass Mural was made possible through the guidance of artist Ryah Christensen, neighborhood volunteers, and the Neighborhood Partnering Program. NPP’s Neighborhood Cost Share Program matches funding amounts that groups raise for their project. Project types range from public art to park improvements, sidewalks, landscaping, and more. Cost-sharing can be achieved through cash contributions, donated materials, and services toward the project, or volunteer hours. NPP helps with projects from concept to construction, while community partners participate in cost-sharing and maintenance.
Visit AustinTexas.gov/NeighborhoodPartnering to learn more about the many other NPP projects around Austin and how to apply for the Neighborhood Cost Sharing Program.